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GUI Input Devices Technology Hardware

10/GUI — an Interface For Multi-Touch Input 344

Posted by Soulskill
from the minority-report-without-the-arm-pain dept.
Naznarreb writes "R. Clayton Miller has an extremely impressive GUI concept he's calling 10/GUI (video; written description here). Essentially, it combines the high-bandwidth input possibilities of multi-touch interfaces with the ease and immediacy of a mouse. The video is quite interesting, and, for me at least, pretty jaw dropping. This is a dramatic re-imagining of the current mouse/screen schema, one that I think has significant potential."
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10/GUI — an Interface For Multi-Touch Input

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @09:52AM (#29743965) Journal

    Theres still a few problems though. For one, mouse is an incredibly precise input device - you can pretty easily move it along same pixel axis, or get it precisely to a specific pixel. It's hard to do that with your fingers because the area they touch is a large one, it's not easy to just move your finger by one pixel and your hand tend to shake a little bit too. If you look at the video, you see everything in the interface is quite big and even a few small windows take lots of place.

    Other problem is that now your both hands lay on the wide touch area and you dont have a keyboard. If you put them side to side, you'll only have one hand on the touch area and dont get the full power of it. Moving hands between them all the time is inefficient. Typing on the touch area gives no feedback and again takes your hands of the "mouse".

    It would also be quite impossible to play FPS or other kinds of games with this type of setup.

    So no, I still dont see touch interfaces replacing the usual keyboard+mouse combo anytime soon. However, I would love to have this kind of system in my living room (either just for the tv, or the computer thats connected to tv screen). It's clumsy to have keyboard or mouse in living (at the moment I have MX Air -mouse [logitech.com], which is okayish), but this would be perfect for such job. Not for a desktop pc replacement though.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:03AM (#29744111) Homepage Journal

      it's not easy to just move your finger by one pixel

      Place finger on surface, then roll finger without lifting or dragging it. I do that all the time on my laptop's trackpad. Besides, you don't need to use pixels as the fundamental unit of movement if your input device can detect movements smaller than a pixel. Putting something at a subpixel position is even easier with modern GPUs (and even Intel GMAs) that power compositing window managers.

      It would also be quite impossible to play FPS or other kinds of games with this type of setup.

      Even RTS or rail shooters?

    • by LBt1st (709520) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:06AM (#29744155)

      At the very end of the video they show a keyboard positioned over the touchpad. So I don't think they're trying to eliminate the keyboard entirely.

      Still you've got many valid points. The mouse is still a much needed tool for many tasks.

      • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:26AM (#29744429) Journal
        Fine then, have a mouse as well for super detail work.

        I watched the video and I found in very interesting. As someone who's sitting in front of a 24" monitor and I've ~30 windows open, I totally get the clutter thing.

        With that all said, what I saw was lots of talk and lots of eye candy. If you go to the 10/GUI website it's completely devoid of any details about hardware, what OS it's going to be supported on, etc.

        Until there's more details, I'm calling vaporware on this...
        • by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:43AM (#29744703) Homepage

          Actually, he's described enough of the framework in the video to do it fairly easily with the stuff that's currently available.

          Seriously. You'd use a capacitive or similar touch-pad and do multi-touch against that backdrop as an input source. All one has to do is apply something along the lines of this [lii-enac.fr] and modify it to understand his local/global edges of the touchpad and then implement his window management system on top of one of the lightweight WMs out there as a fork.

          However, while that would require a smallish amount of work, one has to wonder if he's got patents applied for or a copyright on the "look and feel" that he'll let it all happen and then submarine the whole thing when it becomes "the big thing". If he's letting anyone have access to it, or letting FOSS projects have it under FOSS terms and proprietary under similar RAND terms, then I'd say let's see how the idea actually works. If not, I'd say give it a pass. It's interesting enough to evaluate if he's barking up the right tree or not- but only if he's not merely setting himself up as gatekeeper so he can extract rents on a potentially useful interface paradigm.

        • by PIBM (588930)
          I found that their linear desktop was a very bad idea. Playing around on my 30 inch I tend to have a 3 columns, usually being 2 - 2 - 3 rows of windows opened, and I place my other windows with a few pixel showing so that I can pop them up when needed. IE, I have all the information I want ready to be seen, which is not the case with their idea, and that's a big step backward.
          • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:33AM (#29745427)
            I switched from VI to emacs about 10 years ago primarily because of emacs' ability to manage multiple windows (by which I mean buffers in this post, not separate X windows), and I still think it offers most all the benefits of 10/GUI! You can have columns of buffers (windows), but also rows (addressing your concern), but they're not just arbitrarily strewn around. You have a high-bandwidth, but precise input channel that doesn't block the screen, called a keyboard. You can easily access a labeled list of open windows. No, I don't expect a resurgence of emacs to wipe out the gui, but people who are designing windowing systems should at least be familiar with how emacs worked. (Maybe emacs borrowed it from lisp machines? I don't know). Granted, keyboards aren't exactly multi-touch (except for modifier keys like SHIFT), but keyboards do utilize the ability to move several fingers at once to achieve high-bandwidth input.
          • by Raffaello (230287)

            Exactly. Con10uum (as they call it) is a reasonable idea for mobile devices with limited screen real estate. For modern desktop systems, it's a complete non-starter. I get the distinct impression we're dealing with someone who grew up with Windows 3.1 where this sort of one-app-at-a-time interaction paradigm was the norm. For people who have been using overlapping windows effectively since 1985 (i.e., long time Mac users or long time X users), this is a giant step backwards.

            I routinely have more than two w

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by White Flame (1074973)

          I watched the video and I found in very interesting. As someone who's sitting in front of a 24" monitor and I've ~30 windows open, I totally get the clutter thing.

          Of course. 1920x1200 is pitifully few pixels to work with. Go multi-monitor. This also raises the question of how something like this would work with a multi-monitor setup, especially with vertically stacked displays.

          For me, the problem isn't clutter at all (although I have a bazillion things open at once all the time); it's the ability to see many things at once without always having to shuffle or bring-to-front windows all the time. This UI doesn't solve the interface density issue at all, especially

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Canazza (1428553)

      the final few seconds of the vid shows it as a suppliment to a keyboard (below it)
      so while you're using WASD for movement you can still use the pad like a mouse

      OR you can use the left hand for movement on the pad (splitting the left side into Forward/back/left/right sections) totally ignoring the keyboard. Combine it with it's own thin screen below it to display custom click areas, and boom! FPS.
      Could even replace the keyboard in that case

    • by smitty777 (1612557) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:08AM (#29744181) Journal

      Another problem is the assumption of 10 digits. For example, this might be more difficult for someone that is missing a digit or is paralyzed in an arm. In that case, the mouse would have a definite advantage.

      • by Canazza (1428553)

        Most tasks can be done with 5 fingers, so even if you've lost one whole arm you should still be able to do 90% of the tasks shown. The only thing that'd be hard would be the multi-tasking (eg Zoom out + Move Window), everything else would be okay.

      • by cwgmpls (853876) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:50AM (#29744809) Journal

        I understand that people with disabilities have computer input needs too. But I don't understand why the fact that we are all differently-abled should prevent people from using their abilities to their fullest capacity.

        Does the fact that some people are missing a digit or have paralysis in one arm mean that no one should propose playing a piano with ten fingers? Does that fact that some people don't have feet mean that pianos should not have foot pedals? Of course not.

        While we should move forward with good interface designs for people with disabilities, I don't see why we should stand in the way of people using the abilities they do have in a novel, more productive way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chris Pimlott (16212)

        You could easily replace the multi-finger gestures with single-feature gestures (or a traditional mouse) plus modifier keys. This system doesn't really let you do anything new you couldn't do before, it just takes advantage of all you fingers to let you do them quickly and more efficiently.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        That's like saying books are bad because they assume eyesight. Should we all switch to Braille?
    • by theurge14 (820596) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:25AM (#29744417)

      It would also be quite impossible to play FPS or other kinds of games with this type of setup.

      Are we all really that stuck in our ways that this is how we judge possibly revolutionary ways to interface with our computers? By how well it stacks up to an already poor approximation of shooting guns in a computer game?

    • No, it would not be impossible to play FPS with this kind of setup. It would require a different type of setup than we are currently used to, but that doesn't mean it would be a bad setup.
      • by lymond01 (314120)

        I think it might make an advanced FPS easier to play. Two hands -- one for looking and shooting, one for actions (running, jumping, ducking). You could even keep the normal WASD configuration -- just slightly divide up the pad into areas, just like a keyboard. One finger is directional movement, two fingers is angular, three is an action (ducking, rolling, etc).

    • by Kagato (116051)

      I see this replacing the mouse and quite useful in terms of day to day PC use. In particular in a business setting. I think what happen is the mouse will become a specialized tool, just like drawing tablets are specialized today.

    • by muffen (321442)

      However, I would love to have this kind of system in my living room (either just for the tv, or the computer thats connected to tv screen).

      You can try something like this. [logitech.com]

      I use that with my Media PC and it works well.

    • by naasking (94116)

      For one, mouse is an incredibly precise input device - you can pretty easily move it along same pixel axis, or get it precisely to a specific pixel.

      I think the existence of touchpads that have already replaced mice on all portable computers demonstrates that a touch surface can be almost as precise as a mouse. Certainly there are some input activities that require even more control, but there are simple solutions: a) these activities require a more precise pointing device, or b) use the zoom gesture to zoom

    • by elh_inny (557966)

      It would also be quite impossible to play FPS or other kinds of games with this type of setup.

      I think Quake 3 engine has been open-sourced a while ago.

      I wonder if it'd be possible to use that game (and maybe other games, apps) as a benchmark to test the efficiency of various input methods.

      If you can win on Nightmare on q3dm17, it's good/quick enough for me at least.

    • Theres still a few problems though. For one, mouse is an incredibly precise input device - you can pretty easily move it along same pixel axis, or get it precisely to a specific pixel. It's hard to do that with your fingers because the area they touch is a large one, it's not easy to just move your finger by one pixel and your hand tend to shake a little bit too. If you look at the video, you see everything in the interface is quite big and even a few small windows take lots of place.

      Exact pixel accuracy is only necessary for a few specific applications, like editing graphics. A modifier could be added to adjust the gain, or use something like acceleration to dynamically change the movement delta when the user is moving their fingers very slowly. But for the vast majority of uses and users, being within a few pixels is good enough.

      Other problem is that now your both hands lay on the wide touch area and you dont have a keyboard. If you put them side to side, you'll only have one hand on the touch area and dont get the full power of it.

      I didn't notice any two-hand gestures in the video. Looks like everything could be done with early hand singularly.

      Moving hands between them all the time is inefficient. Typing on the touch area gives no feedback and again takes your hands of the "mouse".

      Moving hands between keyboard and mouse

    • by theghost (156240)

      It looks like most of your objections are a result of being too stuck in the mouse mindset. Use a little imagination.

      Precision: Each fingerprint has a dot in the center like an aiming reticle - that's your single-pixel reference. Seems like the ability to map some application-specific shortcut gesture to sensitivity changes, axis locks, or to any number of other tasks would be a given.

      Keyboard/mouse switching has some of this issue right now and yet we deal with it. At about 8:10 in the video you see what t

    • MP:H for the DS (Score:3, Informative)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867)

      It would also be quite impossible to play FPS or other kinds of games with this type of setup.

      Have you ever played Metroid Prime: Hunters on the DS? It could work very well. I don't see any problems with gaming on a touchscreen. The keyboard placement issue is the only real problem I can see.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dissy (172727)

      Theres still a few problems though. For one, mouse is an incredibly precise input device

      Where in the article, or anywhere else for that matter, is it stated one must unplug the mouse from the computer before the touch interface turns on?

      For a geek news site, that is a really non-intelligent assumption to make, one that has been proven repeatedly to not be true. With every new input device out there, they run just fine with my mouse also plugged in.

  • Overhyped (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:04AM (#29744137) Homepage

    How can you over-hype a one-paragraph summary?

    Five minutes into the video and I'm still none the wiser as to how this is supposed to be an improvement in the use of my computer, or more comfortable, or easier. The "real-world" demo towards the end doesn't seem at all impressive and leaves out an awful lot of computer uses (we'll start with gaming, because it's easier to pick on multitouch for that).

    Why is everyone determined to sell me multitouch but can't actually show a decent use that justifies the price/hassle/upheaval/software development costs?

    • Window management (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm (591458)

      It doesn't really seem like an improvement in window-management for me either. Sure, window overlays are a bit cluttered, but then again there's only so much information one can process at a given instant.

      I tend to have a *lot* of items running as I multitask. A web-browser, document, several terminals, perhaps a coding window, and others. Having windows aligned horizontally it going to be a PITA if I have to zoom out every time I need to jump from #1 to #15. In that event, a taskbar really is quite a nice

      • I felt that looked a bit constraining as well. It would be nice of them to provide two modes -- one where the applications are all aligned in the track as demonstrated in the video, and one where you unlock the interface to organize/clutter your applications as you see fit. I've performed plenty of tasks where I've stacked a window on top, or kept a calculator tucked down into a corner. If this kind of interface catches on, the creators would be wise to allow for user-designed add-ons that allow for the
    • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:13AM (#29744247)
      Because everyone grew up watching Star Trek which clearly shows all computer interfaces are supposed to become glass touchscreens dangit!
      • A flat plane of glass sitting on a desk has all the same ergonomics issues a flat keyboard has. The 10GUI concept uses 5th fingers way too much too, just like a standard key board uses 5th fingers too much.

        There need to be an input device with both hands resting on the desk with thumbs up and palms facing each. Until they figure out a way for hands to rest in a natural position while inputting, there's going to be big problems with repet. motion injuries. You have to spend too much time in whatever position

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Wonko the Sane (25252) *

          There need to be an input device with both hands resting on the desk with thumbs up and palms facing each.

          Fortunately half the population is already naturally equipped with this interface.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Their "real-world" demo looked a whole lot like using a late model Macbook (Pro) except that their windows have automatic tiling permanently locked on.

      Yes, their multiple mouse pointers was nice, but also pretty obvious.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ledow (319597)

        Load up GlovePIE with a few USB mice - you can use their simple example script to have as many (working) mouse pointers in Windows as you have input devices (even Wiimotes and keyboard, etc.). It's not perfect but does essentially the same thing.

    • by Peregr1n (904456)
      Why? Because you can buy a USB keyboard for five dollars. Where's the profit to be found in that?
    • by naasking (94116)

      Because slashdot residents already know how to navigate a computer quickly using keyboard shortcuts, so you're not in the 90% of the computing public that would benefit from a more memorable gesture interface.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by patro (104336)

      How can you over-hype a one-paragraph summary?

      Five minutes into the video and I'm still none the wiser as to how this is supposed to be an improvement in the use of my computer, or more comfortable, or easier.

      In my opinion, it isn't.

      Putting all my apps into a single line and navigating that line is not efficient. I'll stick to Autohotkey which allows me to jump to any of my usual apps with a single keypress.

      I found eliminating the mouse as much as possible and finding convenient keyboard shortcuts is the key to efficient computer use. Using a touchpad which is just an other kind of mouse is not the solution. For computer newbies it may be, but not for seasoned users.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 26199 (577806) *

      They did, but not enough people bought it.

      Youtube video [youtube.com]

      This keyboard is much, much better than a normal keyboard+mouse combo. But it takes more than a few minutes to learn, and it was always low volume, so they weren't a huge commercial success.

  • stretching to type (Score:4, Insightful)

    by koekepeer (197127) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:08AM (#29744185)

    I love the concept, but I imagine myself stretching over the touchpad area to type, which wouldn't be very ergonomical. I can also imagine that the base of my palms would rest on the touchpad area occasionally as I type.

  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:08AM (#29744187)

    But I'm not sure how many people will be wanting to drag their fingers across a surface for 8 hours a day. One of the benefits of a mouse over a touch service is that there's less friction for the hands- all of the rubbing of objects is between the mouse and the surface.

    Can I see this replacing the mouse? No.

    Can I see this supplementing the mouse? Yes

    Can I see this being placed with a mouse and keyboard? No- the combined three objects would take up too much space (who really has that much desk space?)

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:18AM (#29744317)

      I use a track pad all day. It's no problem. I even still have fingerprints.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I still think a TrackBall (Logitech Marble Tracman FTW!) is superior to a mouse in most situations, and even a trackpad is to a degree. This input device would be useful in some cases, but for day to day use, I don't think so.

      That's it, I'm patenting a trackball system with a ball under each finger.
    • by D Ninja (825055)

      But I'm not sure how many people will be wanting to drag their fingers across a surface for 8 hours a day. One of the benefits of a mouse over a touch service is that there's less friction for the hands- all of the rubbing of objects is between the mouse and the surface.

      Aren't there people who use a laptop all day long?

    • by MMC Monster (602931) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:15AM (#29745159)

      Apple's multitouch trackpads on their current notebook lines have it right. In fact, they are so good that I wish they would sell a stand alone trackpad to add onto a desktop keyboard. Using gestures to scroll around a window and two finger click or hold and drag are often much faster than moving around with a mouse.

      Not that I would ever get rid of a mouse, except (potentially) on a media system with a limited physical keyboard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:12AM (#29744235)

    The flat surface is not ideal from an ergonomic point of view. The touch-sensitive surface should be curved so that the user's hands can be held at a more natural angle. Preferably two domes of soft, touch-sensitive material, and two small raised dots on the top for tactile positioning. Hm? what? sorry, I drifted off there for a moment... what were we talking about?

  • Should a desktop GUI paradigm like this take hold, how would those with disabilities use it? Managing multiple pointers is physically impossible for some people. The GUI has to be usable with only one such pointer. Sure it can be better with more, but it must be usable with only one.
  • The name is too similar to "Tengu." Google that for a quick reason why.

    • by Canazza (1428553)

      "Tengu (?, "heavenly dogs") are a class of supernatural creatures found in Japanese folklore, art, theater, and literature. They are one of the best known ykai (monster-spirits) and are sometimes worshipped as Shinto kami (revered spirits or gods)."
      Wikipedia is awesome [wikipedia.org]

    • You must not be a nethack player if you have negative associations for 'tengu'.

      • by Hatta (162192) *

        I'd rather not risk the chance of teleportitis. Generally I don't eat tengu until I already have a ring of teleport control. That way, if I do get teleportitis, it's not a problem. And if I get intrinsic teleport control, I can ditch the TC ring.

  • I like the touch surface but that "simple" window manager is just that. Simple. Too bad that there is a difference between simple and better. Just like a skateboard is simpler than a car doesn't make it more suitable to go to the grocery store with.... After all that talk of "lets increase interactivity because you can't reduce 10 fingers to one x/y coordinate" I think its a little strange that they then go to "lets reduce x/y window layouts to just x"...

    In the end it just looks like an effort in changing

  • VT100 (Score:4, Funny)

    by thomasdz (178114) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:18AM (#29744321)

    I like my GUI text-only, 80 characters wide by 25 lines long. The way Ghod intended.
    oh yeah and 7-bit ASCII only... none of this fancy schmancy 8-bit extended code-page goop.
    and GET OFF MY LAWN! Damn kids with their game boys.

  • by v1 (525388) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:18AM (#29744325) Homepage Journal

    - iphone
    - window button position
    - dashboard
    - expose
    - dock
    - cinema display

    wonder what platform they're going to market to first eh?

  • by Dripdry (1062282) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:22AM (#29744371) Journal

    I disagree with an earlier poster who says this can't replace the desktop interface we know.

    He points out that it is inefficient because one has to move hands between keyboard and pad.
    It seems to me that this interface can be manipulated with just one hand. that's how the mouse works now. you take your hand off the mouse to work with the full functionality of the keyboard, why couldn't 10/GUI replace that?
    Better still, why not have both! The pad can sense a mouse and act as a mouse pad. If you need to use it as a pad move the mouse off, or perhaps use both the mouse AND the pad at the same time (one hand each). I can see a lot of possibilities there. It could clutter a desk, sure, but I'm sure we can solve that problem.

    Second, but probably more importantly, I can easily see this for the work I do, which I imagine is similar to many other people.

    I use my system (two monitors) for business. I have data on one side of the screen and sometimes excel or word on the other screen. In addition (here's where 10/GUI could be useful) I'll have a pdf open in the background which i need to quickly scroll through ("in adobe, quickly!?" you ask?). With one hand on the mouse I can quickly zip through Morningstar data, and use my free hand (on the pad) to scroll through a document, then quickly zip back and forth, scrolling and zooming as necessary. Right now that's just using a mouse and it can be tiresome to move around with just that little pointer (especially morningstar! oh it would be nice to have a touch interface for that...)

    Finally, I need to have a "document scroller" or whatever it is that I can resize and move around, as I find myself with documents that sometimes need to show different parts of their data on screen. Basically I need to be able to "undock" documents so i can use them effectively (like papers on an actual desktop) and then redock them when I'm done.

    That would be a beautiful interface that I do feel would save me some time and frustration. I would buy that for my business.

    • What??

      You're not suggesting I use more than one hand at a time are you? Is that any way to watch po^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H surf the internet?

  • by wadam (563519)
    I really like the idea, but not so much the implementation. Two observations, and one theoretical quibble:

    1) On the hardware side, turning the multitouch interface into a second touch screen that could work as a mouse-like input device (like the video shows), or bring up a keyboard (like the lower half of the iphone, only taking up the whole space) would be preferable. A keyboard without physical feedback would be awkward at first, but after getting used to it, you could do away with a physical keyboar
  • We've basically already solved the issues shown in the video. Problems with too many windows: get a second monitor. It's not very expensive, and doesn't require me to learn a different desktop paradigm. You can also take advantage of various taskbar/Expose/Spaces type features, which (depending on your preferences) make the problem of window management a lot easier. Need more/better input "bandwidth"? Get a Mac laptop with multi-touch trackpad (if you're not a Mac person, ok, I can't imagine Windows is very

  • It seems that every time an "improved" interface to your computer is invented, they get more complicated whilst simultaneously looking simpler.

    This particular interface perhaps has potential for the expert user (like most slashdot folks), but I don't see your average housewife or Grandpa wanting to remember how many fingers to use for what.

    And just what are you supposed to be doing with the fingers not touching the screen? Hold them in the air?

    How about your left hand? Keep it in your pocket unti
  • Virtuoso Users only! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by starglider29a (719559) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#29744653)
    Yes, this is slick. Yes, it's an improvement. Yes, this will happen. But...

    Having seen people have trouble with pressing control and clicking at the same time (to deselect a single item), I foresee a chilly reception, user frustration and a training issue. 10GUI is like playing Mozart among people only able to manage Chop Sticks.

    I see this as stratifying feature... the have's and have not, the able and the un-able. I would request this for my workflow, but the run of the mill admins would be stuck with the keyboard. Aside from the social aspect, there is the difficult task of convincing the boss that "you need this, even if the others don't". Good luck with that.

    I have grown to hate the windowing paradigm for all the reasons cited. I'm not convinced that the linear arrangement is an improvement. I'm more in favor of multiple monitors, the main screen for the primary task and satellites with multiple windows for ancillary tasks. 10GUI doesn't address this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      I see this as stratifying feature... the have's and have not, the able and the un-able.

      I think you're right in a lot of what you're saying, except for this. The problem is that if most people don't feel comfortable, then it won't become a ubiquitous control scheme. Most computers won't come with the appropriate hardware and software support, so it won't be available for most computers you sit down at. That means most people won't get the opportunity to practice it and become comfortable with it.

      So there may be some occasional people who have it set up on their own computer and use it them

  • going in circles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#29744657)

    Apple got its multitouch technology by buying a company called FingerWorks. FingerWorks' primary product was just like what 10/GUI describes: a multitouch surface that could either replace they keyboard or the mouse(pad). It largely failed in the market.

    People use the keyboard and mouse because they really work well. If people did want more DOF, it would be easy to add more sensors to a standard mouse, for example to record twisting, pushing, and other pressures, but even that isn't catching on.

    Another idea that keeps bubbling up is the idea of pressure sensitive keyboards; they also keep failing because the resulting interactions just become too complex and add little benefit.

    The real flaw in all these devices is the assumption that the limiting factor in communicating with machines is they "bandwidth" of they keyboard and mouse. It really isn't. Generally, people can think no faster than they can type and mouse, and speeding up the keyboard or mouse any further is pointless.

    • by Tom (822) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:52AM (#29745723) Homepage Journal

      As an owner of the FingerWorks TouchStream (the keyboard/mousepad multitouch combo product), I disagree with your assessment. The reasons the keyboard failed are many. One of the most important ones, I think, was that it was too early. Yes, it had multi-touch, but no application supported multi-touch. So the only thing you could use it for is a virtual keyboard. The keyboard was good, but lacked haptic feedback, thus making touch-typing very difficult.

      If applications would support multi-touch, a product like the TouchStream could be a success, because now it gives you an advantage over a conventional keyboard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 26199 (577806) *

      I disagree: the keyboard and mouse do not work really well. What they are is really easy to start using, and good enough.

      The TouchStream takes at least a month or two to get used to. Most people spent that long getting started with a keyboard, and aren't willing to invest the time again learning a new device. Nor is there any pressing need except for power users.

      For those power users, though, the TouchStream presents a potentially big[1] boost to productivity and comfort. At least, that's what I found.

      [1]

  • Not quite.... (Score:2, Informative)

    little behind these guys: http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ [perceptivepixel.com] Doncha think?
    • by JustNiz (692889)

      not sure how actually useable this is over a workday, especially if your work isn't some kid of graphic artist.

  • Keyboard (Score:2, Redundant)

    Next they will introduce a non-Cartesian grid of ridges with hybrid haptic and aural feedback, featuring standardized cartographic symbols.

    Unfortunately IBM may have some prior-art with their model-M.

    • I wish I could mod you up.
      I find doing things from the terminals are 100% easier then using a mouse or touchscreen anyday.
      Just faster to type in your objective then to click through 5~20 menus to accomplish the same thing.
  • Application centric user interfaces are already a problem. On both Windows and Mac these days there's an increasing level of application-centric organization, and that breaks the task-centric workflow badly. I normally have a separate workspace for each task, with windows from each application all visible simultaneously. I can surround each primary document with windows of all sizes, to the sides, above, and below. The 10/GUI control model looks very very good, and would work well for a multi-desktop window-oriented workflow, but the Con10uum user interface would be a huge obstacle multi-document workflow.

  • This thing has RSI and carpal tunnel written all over it, even though it's a creative idea.

  • I see a few issues with this approach, some of which I'll offer solutions for:

    1) They can invoke an application menu, but not a context menu. You need both (even from the start the Mac has supported context menus with only one button). They could divide the left bar into a top and bottom half, where you could hold a finger on something and then use your pinky to activate a context menu (or perhaps just hold a finger down on anything while pressing the single bar, but that may be too easy to accidentally t

  • Seems like all this could be accomplished with just a keyboard. Tap a key to activate "touchpad controls" and then just use certain keys to manipulate the environment -- A and D scrolls left and right. W and S zoom in and out. And many other combinations to mimic what this thing does, and my hands never leave the keyboard.

    • by lee1 (219161)
      Indeed, most of the "problems" solved by this approach are already solved, more efficiently, by tiling window managers controlled by the keyboard.
  • 1) tiring to move hands from/to keyboard/touch surface all the time.

    2) the easy selection of another window from the task bar becomes a very time consuming operation of zooming out, select window, zoom in.

    3) redundant visual effects like scrolling and zooming.

    4) where is the equivalent of the task bar icon tray? where is the current language and time, for example?

    5) since I can't stack one window below the other, how do I put a media player, chat program, web browser and text editor on the same screen?

    6) ho

  • by PalmKiller (174161) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:30AM (#29745379) Homepage
    He was still single clicking from a single point of interest, though he had several points he could choose from, he just had 5 mouse pointers on the screen slid around using the basic inaccurate touch pad finger method. But then again, I for one hate touch pads in general (prefer intellipoint like devices on business class laptops), so I guess maybe I am biased. Seemed to me to be more chaotic than graceful.
  • All 10 fingers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MpVpRb (1423381) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:51AM (#29745705)

    You know what other interface uses all 10 fingers...a piano.

    Virtuoso pianists can make magic with the interface.

    Most people never really get it.

    This is the fundamental limitation of all these schemes. The mouse is easy enough that anybody can use it. The more manual dexterity that's required, the more it becomes like learning to play the piano.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kitsch (13820)

      It's not the number of fingers that makes playing piano hard. It's the combinations. The chords are the hard part. Also the independent use of each finger. An interface like this and most other multi-touch interfaces use simple clenching or releasing motions. These are movements that anyone with fully functional hands will have already mastered. They are baby movements.

      As for FPS games I don't see the issues I'd say my finger tip is roughly the size of a baddies head. Panning would be a breeze. Gro

  • Accessibility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jemenake (595948) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @02:52PM (#29748179)
    From watching the video, it looks like they presuppose quite a high degree of dexterity on the part of the user. To resize an app window in the video, they touched three fingers to the pad, held two of them still while pinch-zooming with the third. Now, you probably don't have to hold two of the fingers still relative to each other, but this still sets the bar quite high in its requirements for independent control of your digits.

    This would exclude a lot of users, and not just those who are missing a few fingers. About 10 years ago, I helped set up some web-browsing PC's in a community-college library. One of the things I hadn't anticipated was that some of the older users were lacking in coordination to the extent that it made it difficult for them to use the PC effectively. Even the task of trying to double-click fast enough to get it to register as a double-click would cause these users to twitch some of their arm muscles, causing the mouse to scoot a couple of inches in the middle of the double-click. They'd try several times to get it right, but the mouse always ended up moving off of the targeted icon before the double-click was complete.

    What we eventually had to do was to provide trackballs, so that the user could move the mouse pointer to where they wanted it and then, taking their hand off of the ball part of the trackball, double-click the buttons. So, that is the level of dexterity that some users are at. So, this three-finger-pinch-zooming idea... I could see this being extremely frustrating for them.
  • by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @03:05PM (#29748395) Journal

    Metaphors are held to the laws of physics, aging and death. Witness crop of new gestures creeping up on desktop files and apps.

    Transitional schemes bridge us to the next heuristic interface which hasn't evolved yet to mass market technology.

    Voice .vs. touch will define the future as technology obviates the necessity to command .vs. control.

  • by aaandre (526056) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @03:23PM (#29748619)

    Used a multitouch pad a few years back replacing a mouse. Had multiple gestures and macros. After a while, though, my fingers became oversensitive to the surface and the touch became very uncomfortable.

  • by SpaceToast (974230) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @06:20PM (#29750769) Homepage Journal

    I blogged this last night. Short version: fail.

    Problems:

    1. You just doubled the amount of space I need between myself and the monitor.

    2. Multitouch allows for more kinds of interaction: true! However, this interface steals ALL of them away from use by the applications.

    3. Left and right sides of the screen aren't discoverable. Might as well be top and bottom -- i.e. bottom of the screen for application launching (call it a "dock") and top of the screen for context-specific options (a sort of "bar" of "menus").

    4. Linear spatial overload of windows is no better than two-dimensional spatial overload of windows. Labelled zoom-all-the-way-out cheat no better than Expose and application switcher.

    5. Where does file management fit into this scheme?

    Lukas Mathis calls 10/GUI "one of the most dramatic reimaginations of the desktop user interface I've seen in a long time" but on examination it's an incremental hardware update with no real interface breakthroughs. Keyboard + mouse has gone on for far too long, as has the W.I.M.P. interface. A better direction would be a tactile multitouch surface which can be anything it needs to be, including a keyboard (for any language), coupled with a GUI that represents tasks and actors rather than objects in a space. 10/GUI does nothing about window and document clutter, squinting, scanning large lists, or making the computer's workings and status an organic part of its presentation. The video may be a slick investors' reel, but shows no real progress.

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